With walking and cross country rambling growing in popularity in mid-Antrim, the UFU has urged people to keep control of their dogs.
As more and more people get out and about in the countryside, enjoying the longer evenings and commonly walking dogs on country roads, UFU deputy president Ivor Ferguson has appealed to dog owners and walkers to ensure their pets are supervised at all times.
Ivor said: “While the vast majority of dog owners act responsibly when walking their dog through the countryside, unfortunately there is still a small minority who persist with taking little precaution.
“Over the years sheep worrying has remained a concern for many farmers across Northern Ireland with many having witnessed their livestock or that of their neighbours, distressed, injured or killed by dogs.
“At this time of year the fields are full of ewes with lambs at foot, so an incidence of worrying could have a devastating impact on the family farm. Everyone is a loser when it comes to a sheep worrying incident. Farmers often bear the serious financial and emotional cost of the incident and if the dogs are identified, they may be destroyed and the owner pursued for the cost of the incident.”
Ivor continued: “We want everyone to experience the beautiful and peaceful countryside that we have in Northern Ireland and it is important that there is a positive relationship between farmers and other rural dwellers. All that we ask is that all rural dog walkers act responsibly by being aware of their surroundings, keep an eye out for livestock and keep their dog on a lead, dogs left unsupervised can be unpredictable and may well attack sheep with serious consequences.”